Engaged? (Congrats) Planning a wedding? (Pop the Prosecco...because Champagne is tired). Doing it alone and without a Planner? (Eh. Mah. Gawd.) Here are the top 5 things you need to know!
1. Your venue all day, no other wedding! Right?
Wrong! The idea of having your venue only host your wedding is a beautiful idea. No spectators, no timeline of when set up can begin, the whole thing is just for you! That is a fabulous thought and trust me, many places can accommodate you. However, most couples start venue shopping the second the ring is slipped on (if not before, and P.S.: don't do that) and are so in love that they don't hear the fine print, or read it for that matter. If having the venue exclusively is on the top of your "must haves", then make sure you ask for just that when touring places. I cannot tell you the amount of couples that have come to me, completely distraught, that their wedding was not going to be the only wedding at the venue for that day. Every time (seriously, every time) it was clearly stated in the contract, and there was often a mention of "if" you want exclusivity, you need to pay for it. Bottom line is this: If you don't want the venue to be used by anyone else before, during or after your wedding, make sure you bring that up before putting down the deposit.
2. Tableside Food Orders are Not Always Possible.
Depending on the venue, many places will not allow tableside orders. This means that you will need to find out from your guests what they want to eat before your wedding date. A good way to do this is to include the food choices on the RSVP card so that guests can make their selections when they let you know if they will be attending your Big Day. When meeting with your caterer or banquet hall, find out if you will need to know your guests' selections in advance. It's always mentioned - but I cannot tell you how many times the couple forgets this, leaves it off the invitation, and then has to pay extra to have the waiters take orders at the table.
3. Those Tables that are Super Cute are Super Not Included.
The tablescapes you see on various websites and magazines often include long tables, mirror tops, and fly around the room on cue. Ok, maybe not fly around the room, but you get the idea. Those tables are amazing and you must have them? Well, get your check book out and get ready to spend large sums of money. When a venue wants to look their best, they often bring in stuff that they don't even own. This frequently includes the tables that you see (especially if they are long) and even the chairs. Try not to get married to the specific items and just be inspired by the general look instead. If you robbed a bank or have a sick amount of money, they go crazy and rent away, but if not, then let these pictures be something to create your dream wedding around, but not dictate what you need to have.
4. Can't Stop! Won't Stop the Party!
Ceremony-Cocktail Hour-17 hour long reception plus After- Party going right into table top dancing, mimosa drinking brunch! Woot woot! Why should the party stop? Because the law says so, or the venue says so, or because you and your spouse are the only people that want to keep it going. Generally, you have 30 to 60 minutes for a ceremony, 1 hour for cocktail hour and 4 hours for a reception. This totals 6 hours - and that is plenty! You may look at a timeline and think that there isn't enough time to dance or drink, but trust me, it's plenty. Plus, no matter how many hours you have, you will think that your wedding day flew by anyway, so just stick to the standard 6 hours. If you have it in the budget, rock out the After-Party, but only do this if you know (seriously, like bet your life on it "know") that your guests will attend.
5. "Father of the Bride" was like... A Billion Dollars.
A wedding at home is romantic, beautiful and sentimental. It's also big bucks. The garland of roses on the banister, the tent in the backyard, the rented everything - it all adds up. Plus, what you see in the movies (or on reality television) is all made to look beautiful with professional lighting, camera angles, editing and more. It doesn't hurt to draw inspiration from these weddings, but to copy them exactly is setting yourself up for failure. Try to focus on what you like about what you're seeing and then put together a design around that theme. You want to love your wedding not what you copied from someone else. Trust me: it will burn you to no end to hear on your wedding day about how your decor looks "just like" someone else's.
Those are my Top 5 things to watch out for when planning a wedding on your own. In general, try to treat the planning part as a "business". You want to avoid the lovey dovey stuff and how whimsical you feel and treat the planning as professional as possible. Sounds sterile, right? Then hire a Planner, and let us handle it for you, while you're making out in the corner.
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